Have you found yourself putting off tasks again and again? Do you have some things you are really avoiding? You are not alone. We have all procrastinated at some point in time. Procrastination is an unhelpful habit and one that we need to change if we are going to be effective.
Here’s 11 ways to overcome procrastination.
1. Recognise you’re procrastinating
The first step to beating procrastination is to recognize that you are doing it. Here’s some questions you can ask:
- Do you keep on transferring tasks from one to-do list to another?
- Do you read your emails and re-read them but not take any action?
- Do you easily find ‘other’ things to do when you know you should be doing that ‘dreaded’ task?
- Are you making excuses for missing deadlines or not getting certain tasks done?
- Are you waiting until you ‘feel’ like doing something?
2. Understand the cost of delayed action
Once you have identified and admitted that you are unhelpfully putting off certain tasks, you need to understand the cost of this delayed action. You need to identify the consequences of not doing the task. What will happen if you persist in avoiding this task? How will the outcome negatively affect your attitude, emotions and relationships?
3. Think right about deadlines
Many times we see deadlines as a negative and stressful but a deadline can be your best friend. A deadline can be a powerful motivator to help you get the task completed. A deadline helps you to be focused and make good decisions in an allotted time frame. Thinking right about deadlines is an important part of overcoming procrastination.
4. Plan daily to have a plan
Taking a few minutes to plan your day pays great dividends. Look over your list and identify the most important things you need to accomplish. Make a plan to follow for that particular day. Focusing on your time management like this helps to combat putting off certain tasks until tomorrow.
5. Work on larger projects daily
The best way to complete larger projects is to do a little bit each day. Sometimes we are tempted to procrastinate over these large projects because we can’t allocate an adequate block of time to complete them. However, working on large projects in bite size pieces gives your mind time to think about the project and prevents you from suffering from overwhelm and that feeling of ‘I have to get this done right now.’ By doing a little bit each day, you allow your creative juices to work in the background whilst you’re going about your everyday tasks.
6. Break it down
Beat procrastination by breaking large projects down into smaller more manageable tasks. List all the components and identify the correct order to complete each one and then make a plan to do so.
7. Do dreaded tasks first
We naturally avoid tasks we don’t want to do. We find excuses not to do them. We ignore their presence on our lists. And all these avoidance strategies are taking valuable mental resource as we ‘try not to think about it’ or say ‘I will do that tomorrow.’ Tomorrow never comes. Do those most dreaded tasks first. Just do it. Don’t involve your emotions or your mind, just sit down and do it. You’ll notice how much mental space is freed up by you doing that dreaded thing first. Get it out of the way and get on with the other stuff.
8. Talk to others
To help overcome procrastination, ask for help from others. It’s not necessarily asking them to actually do the task for you, rather it is about involving someone in the process, conversing with them, asking their advice and talking it through with them. It is often in the talking about a task that we gain clarity on how to move forward and tackle it.
9. Be accountable
Ask someone to hold you accountable for completing a certain task in a given time frame. Let them know what you will have completed by a certain date. Ask them to check in on you and see how you are progressing.
10. Reward yourself
We all love treats. Reward yourself for when you complete certain tasks. Buy yourself a coffee, go for a run, watch your favourite TV show – do something to celebrate your progress.
Without adequate rest, our minds and bodies are not functioning at their full potential. Procrastination can sneak in far more easily when you are feeling tired. Make sure you are getting enough rest and that you are looking after both your physical and mental health.
This week’s assignment:
What is the one task you have been avoiding? Choose now to complete it in the best possible timeframe and make a start on that task TODAY.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
QUESTION: As an educator, what do you do to beat procrastination? You can leave your comments here.